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Immigration reform rally draws tens of thousands to Washington

LOS ANGELES AND WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of people began assembling in Washington on Sunday to march for immigration reform, a politically charged issue that has been pushed to a back burner by the intense focus on health care.

LOS ANGELES AND WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of people began assembling in Washington on Sunday to march for immigration reform, a politically charged issue that has been pushed to a back burner by the intense focus on health care.

In a tactic that reflects the current economy, march organizers have tried to cast the immigration debate as part of economic recovery.

"What's important today is that jobs and immigration go hand in hand," Marc Morial of the National Urban League said on Sunday in a television interview. "When you've got millions of undocumented workers working off the books, that affects the economy for everyone."

Organizers are hoping to draw tens of thousands of people to the National Mall then march to RFK Stadium. Organizers say they have attracted hundreds of groups from almost every state for what they call a "March for America."

There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, and efforts to fix the current immigration system have failed in recent years. Liberals have sought a path for citizenship for undocumented workers, while conservatives have been just as adamant in opposing what they have called plans for amnesty. Both sides support efforts to secure the border with Mexico, but they differ on what tactics to use.

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A new proposal has been pushed by Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.. There is no bill yet, but the White House has endorsed the initial framework.

The plan would require biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; added border security; a temporary-worker plan and some path to legalization.

The immigration reform issue has been politically difficult for the White House.

In a statement, President Obama praised Schumer and Graham, saying he was pleased to see their "promising, bipartisan framework, which can and should be the basis for moving forward. It thoughtfully addresses the need to shore up our borders and demands accountability from both workers who are here illegally and employers who game the system."

Related Topics: HEALTHCARE
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